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February 05, 2006

Paisley Doesn't Like McAleese Because She Lies

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News About Ireland & The Irish

RT 02/05/06 Paisley Says He Doesn’t Like President McAleese
SF 02/05/06 McGuinness - Brits Should End Suspension
AP 02/05/06 Opin: Fr McManus-A Recruiting-Sergeant For PSNI
IT 02/06/06 Opin: The DUP And Facing Reality
IT 02/06/06 Opin: Lap Of Honour Before Business Starts
IT 02/06/06 Opin: Nuclear Power Is Not The Solution
IT 02/06/06 Mixed Reaction To 'Stardust' Drama
EX 02/06/06 Stardust Fire - Tragedy That Could Strike Again
SF 02/06/06 Adams Sympathy For Family Of Eileen Haddock
RT 02/05/06 Eamonn Casey Returns To Ireland
EX 02/05/06 Fulmars Fulminate On The Clifftops
FW 02/05/06 Congressional Travel Ban Meets Resistance
SD 02/05/06 Author Of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Bio On RFÉ
EX 02/05/06 Gap Between Rich & Poor Never Been Greater
IT 02/06/06 > 500,000 Visits By Irish To US Last Year
IT 02/06/06 Rivals' Reunion: Fitzgerald Visits Haughey
IT 02/06/06 Admiral And Nun Battle For Foxford Honour


Paisley Comments Regrettable Says Taoiseach

05 February 2006 20:40

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach has said it was deeply
regrettable that the leader of the DUP, Rev Ian Paisley,
made remarks about the President yesterday.

In unscripted comments to his party conference, Dr Paisley
said he does not like the President of the Irish Republic.
'I don't like her because she is dishonest,' he said. 'She
pretends to love this province and she hates it.'

He went on to make a series of allegations about the
President's security arrangements when she travels to the

The statement issued on the Taoiseach's behalf said nobody
has done more than the President to reach out courageously
and imaginatively to all communities in Northern Ireland or
to acknowledge in a public way the very considerable
progress which has been made in policing in Northern

This controversy comes on the eve of a series of meetings
between the North's parties, including the DUP, and the
British and Irish governments at Hillsborough.

And the DUP leader also said: “The President of the Irish
Republic who refuses to enter a police station in Northern
Ireland should respect the police of Northern Ireland.

“She should only enter Northern Ireland under the same
terms as every other visiting head of state and she should
cease attacking Northern Ireland.”

Mr Paisley also attacked the President’s security
arrangements when she travels to the North, claiming she
changed her car before visits.

Áras an Uachtaráin was taken by surprise by the remarks,
but declined to comment officially.


McGuinness - British Government Should End Suspension

Published: 5 February, 2006

On the eve of the commencement of talks on the restoration
of the

institutions Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness
has called on the British government to "lift the
suspension of the political institutions as quickly as
possible as a means to injecting much needed renewed
momentum and confidence back into the process.'

Mr. McGuinness said:

'It is undeniable that the situation today is entirely
transformed from what is was 10 or 20 years ago.

Following the IRA initiatives of last year the potential
for further significant political progress and stability
has never been better.

The republican contribution to all of this has been
substantial and is irrefutable. At every step Sinn Féin has
given clear leadership, we have taken risks for peace and
made the hard decisions.

Republicans have been, along with others, the peace makers.

But there are those whose objective is to wreck the peace -
the peace breakers. They are to be found in the unionist
political parties who hanker after the old days of unionist
domination. They are in the Special Branch and British
security system.

They are the people who provide the unsubstantiated
allegations, including DUP supporters in the Special
Branch, that make up the nonsense which is presented as an
IMC report.

The two governments need to deal with the absurdity of this

The commencement of the talks tomorrow is evidence, we are
told, of the two governments clear intention to sdee the
political institutions restored to full working order in
this year.

Consequently, the next few months will be the most
challenging and crucial since the Good Friday Agreement was

In my view most people are fed up with the endless,
repetitive circular arguments that pass for politics. Each
day brings more news of job losses, cutbacks, reviews in
public spending, changes to our health, education and other
services, and all being done by unaccountable British

This is an untenable situation. It obviously does not serve
the interests of nationalists and unionists.

Tomorrow presents an opportunity to change all of this.
Hard choices will soon have to be made by the DUP." ENDS


Opin: "Do Not Become Recruiting-Sergeant For PSNI", Reiss
Is Advised

A letter to Mitchel Reiss

Father Sean Mc Manus,
President, Irish National Caucus
4 February 2006

Dr. Mitchel Reiss
Special Envoy for Northern Ireland

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Dear Mitchel,

Because of your strong, unreserved support of the PSNI, I
thought you would be interested in the enclosed article
from Daily Ireland, "PSNI won't become representative of
wider society in North until 2027" (Friday, February 3,

On your recent visit to Northern Ireland, you generated the
(January 27, 22006. ).
( )

Many of us wish your support for the PSNI were a little bit
more critical and cautious. It would be a pity if your good
work for Ireland became overshadowed by your exuberant and
uncritical support for a police service about which there
are still many profoundly disturbing questions. Remember
how the good work (however belated) of JFK and LBJ for
Civil Rights came to be overshadowed in the African-
American community by the nefarious work of the wretched J.
Edgar Hoover and his racist FBI?

If you have not already read it, I would strongly recommend
you read "Racial Matters: the FBI's secret file on Black
America, 1960-1972" by Kenneth O'Reilly (The Free Press.
New York. 1989). Permit me to give you a quote from this
very important study:

During the March on Washington, SNCC Chairman John Lewis
wanted to know which side the federal government was on. In
1979, fifteen years after Freedom Summer, a group of
movement veterans gathered in Jackson, Mississippi, to
reconsider those times and to try to answer Lewis's
question. When one of them railed against "the subversion"
of the movement by "the self-styled 'pragmatism' of those
splendid scoundrels residing in the Camelot on the
Potomac," he received " a cheering, standing ovation". One
of the persons in the audience, New York Times columnist
Anthony Lewis, said he came expecting a celebration of
amazing change but instead found bitterness directed not at
"the old segregationists of Mississippi but Northern
liberals and, especially, the Kennedy and Johnson
Administrations. (page 356).

No Catholic from Northern Ireland can read that quote
without profound resonance.

Like you, I too want to see an acceptable police service
("fair and impartial, free from partisan political control;
accountable, both under the law for its actions and to the
community it serves ...", as the Good Friday Agreement
envisioned) but the enclosed article does little to inspire

Nor does the conduct of the PSNI in the recent past. For
example, former policeman, the very brave Jonty Brown, has
publicly admitted that he is in fear of his life, not from
the IRA, but form elements in the Special Branch because he
has exposed their collusion. (See the enclosed article,
'Former colleagues will try to kill me' By Connla Young
Daily Ireland. January 2, 2006").
s&id=19679&opp=1) Yet you have remained silent on matters
like this, while being quite vocal about other accusations
regarding Republicans.

I feel it is very important that you avoid any appearance
of a double-standard. So I urge you to speak out on these
matters so that your good work for Ireland will not be
overshadowed by headlines like "PSNI the best in Europe"
(and, yes, I know you don't write the headlines).

It would be a profound tragedy if the honest-broker title
of the Special Envoy for Northern Ireland came to be
replaced by that of "Recruiting-Sergeant for the PSNI".

Thank you,

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849


Opin: The DUP And Facing Reality

Unfortunately, there were no surprises at the annual
conference of the Democratic Unionist Party in Belfast,
where delegates celebrated recent political gains. The
party had laid out its negotiating stall earlier last week
with the publication of "Facing Reality", a document
advocating the phased restoration of the Northern Ireland
institutions, but with the appointment of an executive
deferred until the party was satisfied that all IRA
criminality had ceased.

And, although the Irish and British governments had
signalled that there could be no withdrawal from the terms
and structures of the Belfast Agreement, the party's deputy
leader, Peter Robinson, declared the document to be dead.

It was a conference for celebration rather than policy-
formation. The party faithful rejoiced at the humbling of
the Ulster Unionist Party, the departure of David Trimble
and the great triumph of the DUP, now the largest political
party in the North and fourth in line at Westminster. With
his 80th birthday approaching and marking his 35th year as
party leader, a robust Ian Paisley was having no truck with
Sinn Féin, while Mr Robinson thought it simply preposterous
that the two governments should expect them to share power
with people who were directly linked to criminal activity.

Behind the impassioned rhetoric and the ritual condemnation
of Sinn Féin, however, party officers were taking a more
sanguine view. Negotiations on the re-establishment of an
assembly and executive will open in Belfast today and
political issues will eventually be resolved there. But
there will be little progress until the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC) provides Sinn Féin with a clean
bill of health. The IMC will not report again until April
and seasoned observers do not expect any major political
developments until the autumn.

That political hiatus is likely to place considerable
pressure on the democratic process in the North. The Sinn
Féin president, Gerry Adams, spoke at the weekend of the
need to re-establish the Northern institutions, end direct
rule and take decision-making away from British ministers.
But while the DUP also favours devolution and opposes many
of the local government reforms proposed by the Northern
Secretary, it has no appetite for a power-sharing executive
at this time and Dr Paisley spoke vaguely of a type of
government based on committees.

The political holding operation now being embarked upon by
the DUP contains serious dangers. The IMC report was
liberally quoted in condemning republican criminality. But
the challenge to law and order posed by the far more
extensive activities of the UDA and UVF in loyalist areas
was largely ignored. Loyalist gunmen have been blamed for
94 per cent of recent murders and shootings. As the largest
political party, the DUP must show the same determination
to put an end to paramilitary activity within loyalist
areas that it demands from Sinn Féin in republican

© The Irish Times


Opin: A Lap Of Honour Before The Serious Business Starts

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Ian Paisley, as is well known, is a teetotaller. He eschews
the devil's buttermilk, to use one of his favourite

He has his drug of choice, though, the narcotic of
political acclamation; it courses through his veins and it
was clear at the DUP annual conference in Belfast on
Saturday that he will never be cured of this addiction.

If there is ever going to be a power-sharing deal - and
it's a big if, if we are to take the words at the DUP
conference at face value - then Dr Paisley intends being
around to rubber stamp it, that is if the Bigger Man spares
him, of course.

When he took to the rostrum for his keynote speech in the
Ramada Hotel, the 600 delegates as one rose to their feet
to express their faith and fervour in their leader.

For three solid minutes - and this before he had uttered a
word - they clapped and cheered him. Dr Paisley could have
calmed them much earlier but he basked in the adulation.

He lapped it up like a cat with the cream. "I was beginning
to feel people did not want to hear me," he joked when he
finally allowed the crowd to settle into their seats.

This is his 35th year as leader of the party he founded.
Just two months short of his 80th birthday, Dr Paisley
looked in good health, a far cry from the time not so long
ago he appeared at death's door.

He told delegates, "I am a devolutionist", as are the SDLP,
UUP and, more or less, Sinn Féin. But listening to the Doc
and the rest of the DUP senior politicians on Saturday, it
was obvious that the challenge in the months and seasons
ahead of trying to restore the Northern Executive and
Assembly will be huge.

Dr Paisley, as usual, was in classic preacher
man/politician mode on Saturday, his dark three-piece suit
accentuating that strange evangelical mixture that, on
these islands at least, is unique to the DUP.

There were many religious references in his speech. He
exhorted delegates to uphold "the faith of our fathers"
(no, not that faith) and warned that the possibility of
compromise with the violence or criminality of the IRA is
"buried in a Sadducee's grave". (Sadducees, as Ian Paisley
jnr instructed us, didn't believe in resurrection.)

Deputy leader Peter Robinson, in more secular tones, was
equally dogmatic. "Read my lips, the Belfast Agreement is
dead," he asserted.

Leader and deputy thundered that if Bertie Ahern wouldn't
have Sinn Féin in government in the South, it was
"preposterous and outrageous" to expect unionists to share
power with republicans in the North.

And just to deviate for a minute, one odd element of
Robinson's speech was the manner in which time and time
again he stuck it into the Ulster Unionist Party.

The DUP has nine MPs to the UUP's one, many more Assembly
members and councillors, and is queuing up to take seats in
the House of Lords, yet listening to Mr Robinson you would
think Reg Empey posed a serious threat.

Mr Robinson's justification was to guard against
complacency, but Sir Reg and his party will probably take
it as a backhanded compliment that he mentioned them so

Anyway, in returning to the main theme of whether power-
sharing politics might ever prevail in Northern Ireland,
you could sense how the pall of the Independent Monitoring
Commission report hung over proceedings.

Its findings that the IRA was still engaged in criminality
and intelligence-gathering and its suggestion that the
organisation retained some weapons ensured that this was
not the conference where you might hear subtle hints of a
potential willingness to engage with Sinn Féin.

Peter Robinson again advocated the notion of phased- in
power-sharing that would be fully functioning when the IRA
lived up to all its obligations, but that has been shunned
by Gerry Adams.

Dr Paisley's off-the-wall remarks about President McAleese
might have exacerbated that sense of dejection. Dr Paisley
does not like her, questions her integrity and reckons she
hates the North. It was fairly barmy stuff and if any
Southern politician made a similar remark about the queen
of England there would be an almighty row.

But with Dr Paisley it's just something you expect. He
tends to get a fool's pardon for this kind of thing, but
down the line, it could be this very predictable
unpredictability about Dr Paisley that could scuttle any
chance of a political deal.

Were the IRA to finally get a clean bill of health from the
IMC, Dr Paisley might just destroy any chance of an
accommodation with additional demands for ritual
humiliation from republicans, or some such requirement. You
just can't tell with him.

But maybe it isn't quite as black as all that. DUP
conferences now are different creatures than 10 or even
five years ago. The mood is more relaxed, less uptight.
There was even a Department of Foreign Affairs official at
the conference as an observer, for goodness sake - and for
the first time.

While Dr Paisley appeared to be demanding the disbandment
of the IRA, privately many delegates were of the pragmatic
view that if it was evident that the IRA had distanced
itself from criminality and other activities, that a deal
might be done. But not for a while, perhaps a very long

Saturday therefore was a holding operation. The slow work
of talking (but not directly with Sinn Féin) starts at
Hillsborough today.

Saturday was not the occasion to disclose what sort of
political deal to which it might eventually subscribe. It
was good knockabout.

As a colleague said, "it was a prolonged lap of honour" for
the electoral successes of the party. The more serious
business starts today. But oh so slowly.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Nuclear Power Is Not The Solution

Ireland remains strongly opposed to nuclear power; we
must not sacrifice the future of the environment for
current electricity demands, writes Dick Roche.

The debate on nuclear energy is being reopened. Supporters
of nuclear power are now cloaking the debate in the guise
of an environmental response to global warming and new
concerns on secure energy supplies.

Ireland is not unaffected by this. The UK has announced a
review of energy policy that will give explicit
consideration to the building of new nuclear power plants.

Ireland considered going nuclear in the 1970s but in the
end "No nuclear" became the clear and unequivocal message.
In fact the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999, makes it
clear that nuclear power cannot be used for the production
of electricity in Ireland.

The accidents at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl
(1986) have obviously influenced international opinion on
nuclear energy but the experience and perhaps, more
importantly, the practice of our near neighbours in the UK
has shaped our views in Ireland.

Ireland has a significant stakeholder interest in the
implications of forthcoming UK decisions and this is
recognised. Where our interests are affected by
environmental, safety and other concerns, the Government
will pursue all political, legal and diplomatic avenues to
protect those interests. We make no apology for doing so.

We have good reason to be concerned. We have seen
environmental degradation caused by the historic and
ongoing radioactive discharges to the Irish Sea from
Sellafield. On the site itself there is a continuing poor
operational safety record. Highly radioactive wastes are
not being adequately dealt with and a continuing threat is
posed by the risk of an accident or attack.

Sellafield not only had the world's first nuclear plant but
also the first significant accident: the Windscale fire in
October 1957. The incident also marked an early example of
the nuclear industry's reluctance to make information
available to the public and to deal with issues in an open
and transparent manner.

Sellafield's poor operational safety record undermines the
repeated assurances on safety given by the operator, the
regulator and the UK government.

Between 1950 and 1976, there were 177 incidents that were
sufficiently serious to warrant investigation.

In 1980, the safety regulator in the UK determined that
safety at the site had deteriorated to a level which
"should not have been allowed to develop, nor should it be
permitted to occur again".

In 1999 we had the infamous "falsification" of data at the
MOX demonstration facility.

Last year we had a leak at the Thorp plant of 83,000 litres
(a 25-metre swimming pool worth!) of highly radioactive
liquid from a tank into a concrete containment cell.

A report on last year's incident referred to failure by
staff to act appropriately, a culture of complacency,
failure to act on information, a prioritising of production
over planned inspections and ambiguous operating

This record represents a cycle of failure. The question
arises "how many strikes before you are out?" Because of
these continuous incidents the Irish Government, in 2001,
initiated several legal actions. Again there is no reason
to make apologies for that.

The Government's first responsibility is to protect the
health and wellbeing of its citizens and these actions have
borne results in terms of improved co-operation on nuclear
issues between Ireland and the UK.

We have seen access for the Radiological Protection
Institute of Ireland and An Garda Síochána to Sellafield,
access for Ireland to the UK remote-sensing system for
radioactive monitoring (Rimnet) and the development of
close contacts and information exchange arrangements at
regulator and official level. Without our court cases, we
would not have forced the pace of change.

Our decision to take legal actions in international forums
has led to a difference of opinion with the European
Commission. The advocate-general has issued an opinion
suggesting that the European Court of Justice is the
appropriate court to adjudicate in the dispute between
Ireland and the UK.

The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea and Sweden
support Ireland's position on our right to sue in
international forums. We await the final outcome of the
court, which will have huge significance in clarifying
international and community law in this area.

It is the Government's view that if the commission claims
jurisdiction, it has a moral and legal obligation to
exercise that jurisdiction - to adopt a new and robust
approach to the continued operation of the Sellafield
plant. This was the case which I impressed on Commissioner
Franco Frattini, vice-president and EU commissioner
responsible for justice, freedom and security, and
Commissioner Andrias Piebalgs who has responsibility for
energy, when I met them last week.

I emphasised to the commission that its assurances now need
to be backed up by action. The commission indicated that
further legal action was expected in relation to the
radioactive storage pond (B.30), which has long been of
concern to the Government.

I also expect that we will shortly see action being taken
under the Euratom treaty in relation to the failures at
Thorp last year. The form of that action will be made clear

The opening of the first nuclear plant in the world, the
UK's Calder Hall, 50 years ago, was acclaimed with the cry
that it would produce "electricity too cheap to meter". We
now know different! Calder Hall ceased production in March
2003 and is being decommissioned at an estimated cost to
the UK of £1.3 billion. The radioactivity will last for
thousands of years. The current estimated total bill for
decommissioning of nuclear facilities in the UK is £70
billion, a cost seldom factored into discussions by the
pro-nuclear lobby.

Those in Ireland who have been suggesting recently that
there are good economic or business grounds for pursuing
the nuclear option need to consider the whole picture. We
cannot sacrifice the future of the environment for current
electricity demands.

I do not accept the argument that the nuclear option can
provide a solution to problems of climate change and energy
supply. The reality is that the nuclear industry carries
with it serious environmental, nuclear proliferation and
safety risks. The hitching of nuclear power to the climate-
change wagon is both simplistic and disingenuous. It
ignores the real economic costs and the unsustainable
environmental legacy left to future generations. It
proposes a "solution" which in the long run could be worse
than the problem.

Dick Roche is Minister for the Environment and Local

© The Irish Times


Mixed Reaction To 'Stardust' Drama

Kathy Sheridan

Families bereaved by the Stardust disaster 25 years ago,
when 48 young people died in a fire at a St Valentine's
disco in Artane, north Dublin, had the opportunity on
Saturday to view the controversial RTÉ series about the

Some 140 people turned up at Clontarf Castle for the
private screening of the two-part drama, Stardust, based on
the book They Never Came Home, by Tony McCullagh and Neil
Fetherstonhaugh, and due to be broadcast next Sunday and
Monday nights.

Despite the presence of counsellors, provided by RTÉ, it
was a day fraught with sadness, anger and frustration, much
of it levelled at the RTÉ representatives who attended,
including Clare Duignan, director of programmes, and Mary
Callery, commissioning editor of drama.

Some relatives, who found the fire scenes too distressing,
left early. Some objected to the drama format. Others, said
Clare Duignan, felt that because the story was told through
a small number of central characters, it suggested that
only a small number of families were affected, and
"diminished the story of others".

Although the drama could not have been made without the
Keegan family story at its core, none of the family felt
able to attend the private screening. "We wouldn't be able
to deal with it," said Antoinette, a survivor of the
disaster that killed her two sisters, Mary and Martina.

"But we don't mind the drama going out if it helps to get
at the truth. We'll have it recorded and watch it another

Her mother, Christine Keegan, said she was "delighted" that
it was coming out: "Let the Government know what we've been

Jimmy and Kay Dunne, the parents of Liam, who was the 48th
Stardust victim, and who are portrayed in the drama, said
that the film-makers had done "a decent job".

"You can only work with the tools you've got. They were
accused of not doing enough research. All right, but it was
based on the book, so blame the writers of the book."

However, Tony McCullagh, co-author of They Never Came Home
(published in 2001 and being re-released this week),
pointed out that the drama deals only with the years from
1981 to 1986, "and the facts as they were known at that

The book incorporates evidence from a Garda file, not known
about in the 1980s, which makes it clear, says McCullagh,
that gardaí never believed the fire was caused by arson.

Mary Callery said that the film-makers based the drama
"only on what information can be stood over".

Some relatives objected strongly to scenes which appeared
to support the Butterly side, said Jimmy Dunne, such as a
piece of a door with a chain hanging on it (implying
perhaps that the door had not been locked).

"I understand their view. Because they wanted the drama to
be a documentary, they wanted to see things that were in
line with their mindset and have a hammer at Butterly. But
it did stand up to him," he adds, noting the strong scenes
where several doors were shown being locked.

"I thought people there were in the blame game and the
makers were in the firing line unfortunately. It saddens me
to see a lady [ from RTÉ] reduced to tears. She was being
lambasted and it wasn't her fault. I tried to console her
and so did Kay. The person they wanted to vent at was a
sleeveen in hiding. He wasn't there."

Clare Duignan said that they would be making some changes
on foot of relatives' comments. "We need to say that this
is a representation of what happened, that 44 families lost
people and that many were injured. That needs to be
reflected in the publicity and with a voice-over."

People had also asked that a way be found for RTÉ to
"express sympathy" within the drama. Was this because
people were angry at RTÉ? "People were angry at
everything," said Duignan.

"They kept talking about closure. It's my hope that through
this, they get an opportunity to raise these issues again.
Four families have relatives who were never identified and
are trying to get exhumation and DNA identification now,
because they feel it might be possible."

© The Irish Times


Stardust Fire - A Tragedy That Could Strike Again

AFTER 25 long, heartbreaking years since the devastation of
the terrible Stardust inferno, the families of the 48
people who perished in the blaze still do not know what
caused it.

And, the reality is that what happened on that ill-fated St
Valentine’s Night in 1981 could be revisited on other
families, because were the atrocity to be repeated, our
fire services simply could not cope.

That is the plain, unmitigated truth which successive
governments have chosen to ignore, despite warnings from
professionals in the service and advice from an expert
review body appointed by the present Government two years

The tribunal into the terrible tragedy found: “The lack of
proper training (within the emergency services) from senior
management down to the firemen, contributed significantly
to the shortcomings in the rescue operation at the

It also laid “special responsibility” on Stardust owner
Eamonn Butterly, because of locked emergency doors, but
whose claim for £500,000 damages has long ago been settled.

The most senior fire officers in the country still believe
that the Government’s policy to develop the fire services
fails to address fundamental weaknesses.

In the middle of last year, the Chief Fire Officers’
Association criticised the decision by Environment Minister
Dick Roche to rule out the establishment of a National Fire
and Civil Protection Authority.

The creation of such a body, which would have
responsibility for ensuring the coordinated development of
fire, civil protection and emergency services, was the main
recommendation contained in a report dating back four

The Garda Commissioner and the Forensic Science Laboratory
have dismissed a recent report on the Stardust fire,
claiming it offered no new evidence.

That report was presented 12 months ago on behalf of
survivors’ and victims’ families, bringing forward what it
maintained was new evidence.

It challenged the 1982 tribunal, which found that arson was
the probable cause of the fire.

According to the legal adviser to the Stardust Legal
Challenge Committee, solicitor Gregory O’Neill, they hope
to be in a position to forward a fresh dossier to the
Department of Justice within weeks.

The Department of Justice has promised it will “carefully
examine” new evidence, although there is already calls for
a new inquiry into the circumstances of that event.

A walkout by relatives from a special screening of the RTÉ
drama, Stardust, reflects the view that they do not now
need a dramatisation of the fire, but the reasons why 48
people lost their lives in that horrific tragedy.

In the intervening 25 years since it happened, it is
unconscionable that the fire service is still inadequate to
deal with another tragedy on a similar scale because of
government intransigence.

From a broader and very current perspective, it is highly
questionable, given the state of our fire and emergency
services, that the country could deal adequately with a
terrorist attack, a nuclear disaster, a biological attack
or a flu pandemic.

All worst-case scenarios, but it is for such horrendous
possibilities that the system should be prepared.


Gerry Adams Extends Sympathy To Family Of Eileen Haddock

Published: 5 February, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has extended his "deepest
sympathy and condolences to the family of Eileen Haddock
(nee Hickey) who has died after a long and courageous
battle against illness."

Mr. Adams said:

"Eileen comes from one of those spinal Belfast republican
families which in times of great danger and challenge
helped organise and sustain the republican struggle. In
1973 she was arrested and spent four and a half years in
prison. While there she was Armagh Women's Prison's first
Republican O.C. (Officer Commanding). She formed the women
prisoners into a coherent republican structure and was a
determined spokesperson for them in negotiations and
arguments with the prison administration.

On her release in 1977 she returned to republican activism.
She was a stalwart,hard working republican enormously
respected by all who knew her.

She also returned to education and qualified as a teacher.
Eileen recognized that there was a section of children and
young people falling out of full time education in West
Belfast. Some were being expelled, some just dropped out,
and others were having real problems learning in the formal
classroom environment. She began teaching in Fr. Des
Wilson's Springhill project. In Springhill, and
subsequently in Conway Mill when the school moved there,
Eileen proved an effective teacher. She had a remarkable
ability to motivate the young people she taught. She also
was principally responsible for introducing exams into
the curriculum for the youngsters.

Conway Mill is also renowned for its art and theatre
activities and Eileen ensured that these were an integral
part of the experience of the young people who attended her

Eileen and her husband Johnny Haddock were very much part
of the Sean O'Neill craft shop which provided local artists
and designers an opportunity to showcase their work. And
she was also very much involved in the 'Prisoners Day'
exhibition held each August in the Felon's Club as part of
Féile an Phobail. Eileen and several close friends and
colleagues were very keen on opening a museum in the Mill
that would reflect the story of republicanism in Belfast.
They established the Irish republican History Museum
Committee and were given the An tSean Mhuillean club in the
Mill as the site for their museum. This has required much
refurbishment and the gathering of artefacts from the 1940s
and on.

Eileen published an excellent book, entitled 'Essays on
Irish History through Verse' the proceeds from which went
to the Museum. In many ways all of this was entirely
appropriate. Conway Mill was very much at the heart of
events in 1969. In its shadow Catholic families were driven
from their homes by loyalist mobs and the RUC and later, as
Fr. Des, Tom Cahill, Eileen and others tried to maximise
the potential of Conway Mill to provide employment in west
Belfast, it was one of the first projects to suffer
Political vetting by the British government. In 2003 mural
Artists honoured those visionaries who in 1982 established
Conway Mill and included on the mural, which can still be
seen, is Eileen and Elsie Best.

Eileen was a dedicated republican activist and community
leader who made a significant contribution to improving the
quality of life of many of those she came into contact
with, particularly the young people.

To her family and friends I want to extend on behalf of the
entire republican community and the people of west Belfast
our deepest sympathies and condolences." ENDS


Eamonn Casey Returns To Ireland

05 February 2006 18:52

The former bishop of Galway, Eamonn Casey, returned to
Ireland this evening but Catholic Church sources say it is
not clear when he will travel to the village of

A house is being provided there for him by the diocese.

The Parish Priest of Shannaglish, Fr Paddy Callanan, told
RTÉ News that it may be sometime next week before the
former bishop moves into his new home.

He said Dr Casey would be given a big welcome on his

Bishop Casey left Galway 14 years ago after acknowledging
that he had a relationship with an American woman, Annie
Murphy, and was the father of her son.

He has been working as a curate in a parish in Sussex,
southern England for six years.


Fulmars Fulminate On The Clifftops

By Damien Enright

EVEN here on the south-west coast, possibly the mildest
part of Ireland, flowering celandines, the harbingers of
spring, are still few and far between.

The ravens haven't so far laid a single new stick in the
ruins of last year's nests; in fact, they are nowhere to be

Walking along a cliff-top path, I watch six fulmar riding
the wind, and they watch me. They seem to exult in the very
air that supports them.

Stiff-winged, they glide out, high over the sea and,
without a feather- flap or tail-twitch, come hurtling back
at breakneck speed. They disappear from view under the
cliff, then rise, like jack-in-the-box, on the other side
of the ditch and sail effortlessly beside me, watching me
out of the corner of an eye.

The first time it happened, it made me jump, the bird
suddenly there, suspended over the abyss, 10 feet from my
shoulder. That they were celebrating the joy of flight,
there could be no doubt.

Back and forth they glided, diving and floating, rising and
falling, requiring not a single wing-beat to stay aloft,
letting the air do it all.

If you and I could ride the wind and glide out over the sea
as effortlessly as skaters on ice how thrilling it would
be! Nature never ceases to be replete with sights of beauty
and wonder.

The other Sunday, as we walked alongside Cloheen Marsh,
near Clonakilty, in West Cork, the yellow sun was low over
the vast plain of flat land, sere and brown, over which
horses grazed. The golden glow of the land, the misty
distances, the horses fetlock-deep in the sward, the ponds
shining like silver ingots might have been painted by

Sunlight glanced off the flanks of horses half a mile away
and those nearer, between us and the sun, were surrounded
in an aura of light; they were piebalds and skewbalds,
long-haired horses untrimmed for winter, bright in their
colours, beautiful to watch in their groups and
communities, grazing the marsh.

The scattered ponds were hosts to teal and widgeon, black
silhouettes against the water, and ranks of black-tailed
godwit, long-beaked, long-legged waders, roosted in orderly
rows along the edges, waiting for the night.

The marsh was sheltered. Out on the bay, on the opposite
side of the causeway, the tide was full in, and the water
choppy; it was not a warm day, but dry and crisp, with a
fresh north wind blowing.

There, rafts of shelduck, dramatic in their bright white,
black and chestnut colours against the pastel green sea,
and widgeon in their hundreds, bobbed on the wavelets,
facing into the wind.

Nature is not only supremely romantic in its beauty, but in
its resilience too.

Down the lanes ahead of us always 100 yards ahead flew
skeins of redwing thrushes, all the way from Scandinavia
and Russia, where the winter is especially cruel this year.
We saw that every hawthorn bush, but one, was stripped of
berries. Nature provides.

For these birds, and their larger cousins, the elegant
fieldfares, Ireland must be like a winter break on the
Costas. Food, in terms of the effort to find it, is cheap,
and accommodation in an Irish ivy bush, in comparison to a
frozen forest in Russia, should be relatively cosy.

Woodpigeons flop about and feast among the ivy clothing an
old hawthorn in our garden. The haws are gone, the last of
them taken by a trio of blackcaps that spent two days with
us, but the ivy berries are black and full. On sunny
mornings, across the small stream and half leaning over it,
an ivied stump under a big beech shines when the sun
reaches it.

With the dry weather of the last week, the nights have been
very clear and the sky full of stars.

Sometimes, Mars is the star we see nearest to the moon. It
is a round ball like the moon, only much further away. All
the other star-shaped lights are, as we know, spheres too,
which we see only because they are reflecting light from
our Sun.

Turning again to the beauty and romance of nature, it is
hard to conceive that beyond our Sun is another sun with
its millions of planets, and beyond that, another, all
floating serenely in space, one behind the next, to


Congressional Travel Ban Meets Resistance

Jim Abrams
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The 17 members of Congress who went to Dublin,
Ireland, on an Aspen Institute-paid trip last summer got a
walking tour of the city. They also spent six or seven
hours each of the four days in discussions with scholars
and policymakers about U.S. relations with Europe and

It was not quite the same as the itinerary for trips
arranged by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, when golf at
St. Andrews' famed course in Scotland was the highlight.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, seeking cover for Republicans
in a growing influence-peddling scandal, has proposed
banning all such trips, whether they are intended to
improve lawmakers' knowledge of an issue or their putting
skills. His idea is running into resistance, even from his
second in command.

The new House majority leader, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio,
defends privately funded travel as essential and suggests
continuing to allow the trips if they meet House rules.

Boehner, who also discounts several other proposals for
overhauling lobbying rules, has taken more than three dozen
privately funded trips at home and abroad since 2000.

"We can't lock members up in a cubbyhole here in Washington
and never let them see what's going on around the country
and around the world," Boehner said on "Fox News Sunday."

"Members need to be educated, they need to be kept up to
speed on what's happening, and these trips, to a large
extent, help educate members," he said.

Hastert's proposed changes, including restrictions on gifts
to and meals for lawmakers, were to have been released last
week. They were postponed, however, when several GOP
members balked at some of the measures during a private

"We are now in a long-term war against terrorism," said
Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who is concerned about a total ban
on travel. "If we think for a second that we are going to
have cooperation from other freedom-loving countries in the
world by isolating ourselves, we are kidding ourselves."

Current congressional rules permit lawmakers to accept
payment from qualified private sponsors for necessary food,
transportation and lodging involved in trips for speaking
engagements or fact-finding. Lobbyists are not allowed to
pay for such trips.

PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign spending, says
that 638 members of Congress made 6,689 trips in the 2000-
2005 period, receiving just under $20 million. The top
foreign destinations were Israel, Mexico, Germany and

By comparison, the government spent some $7.7 million in
that period to send just House members overseas as official
congressional delegations. At least that much also was on
trips by lawmaker's staffs.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is a senior member of the House
International Relations Committee who travels extensively
on human rights issues. He said he tries to avoid privately
sponsored trips.

"Public trips are much preferable," he said. "It gives me a
sense of independence. It gives you the freedom to pursue
every aspect of an issue."

Wamp said citizens would balk at increased use of taxpayer
money for foreign travel, and there is wide support for
events arranged by groups such as the Aspen Institute, the
leading private sponsor of overseas trips.

Former Sen. Dick Clark, D-Iowa, who founded the institute's
Congressional Program in 1983, said the Dublin conference
on Russia relations was the 86th of its kind. "The whole
idea is to bring together the best scholars in the world"
with policymakers and "have an intense four-day seminar."

The Dublin event, which included Senate Foreign Relations
Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and the Senate's
second-ranked Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, featured
talks on nonproliferation, Russian democracy and the
European Union constitution.

The institute is funded by such groups as the Ford
Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It
spent from $4,800 to $9,800 per lawmaker for the trip,
according to PoliticalMoneyLine.

Clark said the institute takes no money from lobbyists and
does not pay for any recreational activities.

"Foreign travel is essential in an era of globalization,"
he said at a recent Senate hearing on lobbying overhaul. "A
total ban on privately funded travel would be a disservice
to members of Congress."

The main Democratic bill on lobbying changes would further
restrict lobbyist participation in travel; it does not
propose an outright ban.

Advocacy groups pressing for an end to congressional
junkets acknowledge it is a complex issue.

"We don't want members of Congress sitting behind their
desk all day long," said Mary Boyle, spokeswoman for Common
Cause. She said Congress needs to create an independent
outside panel to determine ethics questions, including
which trips are educational and which are junkets.

"Unless we have an outside body to monitor this,


Author Of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Biography On Radio Free Éireann

Radio Free Éireann 05.02.2006 11:50

Next Saturday February 11th, Radio Free Éireann will have
on as guest Dr. Robert W.White. Dr. White is the author of
the highly anticipated biography on the President of
Republican Sinn Fein, titled: “Ruairi O Bradaigh: The Life
and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary”.

This is a must listen to episode for anyone interested in
the Irish struggle!

Next Saturday February 11th, Radio Free Éireann will have
on as guest Dr. Robert W.White. Dr. White is the author of
the highly anticipated biography on the President of
Republican Sinn Fein, titled: “Ruairi O Bradaigh: The Life
and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary”. DR. White is the
Dean of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts and
Professor of Sociology at Indiana University-Perdue
University Indianapolis. He has previously authored
“Provisional Irish Republicans: An Oral and Interpretive
History” and was co-editor of “Self, Indentidy, and Social
Movements”. He will be joined on Radio Free Éireann by the
journalist Ed Maloney, who authored the best-seller “A
Secret History of The I.R.A”. Radio Free Éireann can be
heard in the New York area on 99.5 FM WBAI Radio. It can be
heard live worldwide via the internet at RFE is on at 1:30 pm EST/ 6:30pm GMT.
If you miss the show WBAI now archives its programs so you
can listen later if you miss the show

This is a must listen to episode for anyone interested in
the Irish struggle!

In a very real sense, Ruairí Ó Bradáigh can . . . be said
to be the last, or one of the last Irish Republicans.
Studies of the Provisional movement to date have invariably
focused more on the Northerners and the role of people like
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. But an understanding of
them is not possible without appreciating where they came
from and from what tradition they have broken. Ruairí Ó
Bradáigh is that tradition and that is why this account of
his life and politics is so important." —from the foreword
by Ed Moloney, author of A Secret History of the IRA

Since the mid-1950s, Ruairí Ó Bradáigh has played a
singular role in the Irish Republican Movement. He is the
only person who has served as chief of staff of the Irish
Republican Army, as president of the political party Sinn
Féin, and to have been elected, as an abstentionist, to the
Dublin parliament. Today, he is the most prominent and
articulate spokesperson of those Irish Republicans who
reject the peace process in Northern Ireland. His rejection
is rooted in his analysis of Irish history and his belief
that the peace process will not achieve peace. Instead it
will support the continued partition of Ireland and result
in continued, inevitable, conflict.

The child of Irish Republican veterans, Ó Bradáigh has led
IRA raids, been arrested and interned, escaped and been "on
the run," and even spent a period of time on a hunger
strike. An articulate spokesman for the Irish Republican
cause, he has at different times been excluded from
Northern Ireland, Britain, the United States, and Canada.
He was a key figure in the secret negotiation of a
bilateral IRA-British truce. His "Notes" on these
negotiations offer special insight to the 1975 truce, the
IRA cease-fires of the 1990s, and the current peace process
in Ireland.


Gap Between Rich And Poor ‘Has Never Been Greater’

By Michael O’Farrell, Political Reporter

DESPITE increasing levels of wealth, Ireland is a more
unequal society than ever before, the latest report from
the National Economic and Social Forum has found.

The report, to be published today, calls for a more
coherent approach to tackle unemployment and proposes
intensive "personalised action plans" for individual
unemployed people.

According to the report, the richest 20% of the working-age
population earns 12 times as much as the poorest 20% one of
the highest levels of market income inequality among all
OECD countries.

With many low-skilled jobs in the economy, the report also
found that employment is no guarantee of escaping the
poverty trap.

Of all households considered to be living in poverty, 14%
were headed by those with a job.

Consequently, the report calls for agreement between the
Government, unions and employers for the funding and
provision of workplace training and up-skilling to be a
policy priority.

It also calls for a €30 million "free fee" system to be put
in place by the Government for part-time students wishing
to take courses relevant to their occupation.

In addition, another €20m fund to facilitate training for
young, low-skilled employees is proposed by the end of

Even the most basic education and literacy skills are
frequently lacking as well as levels of lifelong learning,
the report found.

For example, less than 10% of those aged 25 to 64 are
involved in 'lifelong learning', compared with 34% in
Sweden, 21% in Britain, 19% in Denmark, 18% in Finland and
17% in the Netherlands.

The report warns that without up-skilling, many low-skilled
workers will continue to experience low-paid, precarious
employment, including periods of recurring unemployment.

The report urges a more equal and inclusive labour market
policy in order to encourage the emergence of a more
productive and better-skilled workforce.

"This will not only improve the prospects of the
individuals affected but help sustain our national social
and economic development," the report concludes.

It also calls on the authorities to "agree on a fair
immigration system that will both help to meet our future
skills needs and ensure that longer-term support measures
are put in place now to help migrant workers and their
families integrate into the wider community."


More Than 500,000 Visits By Irish To US Last Year

The number of visits by Irish citizens to the United
States last year is estimated at more than 500,000, putting
Ireland among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of
US visitor number, writes Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign
Affairs Correspondent.

This was a significant increase on 2004 when official US
figures put the number of non-immigrant Irish visitors at
429,940, putting Ireland at 14th place in the world.

Meanwhile, in the six weeks before last Christmas alone, it
is understood that more than 100,000 Irish citizens visited
the US.

The average stay for Irish visitors during 2004 was 14
nights, according to the US Office of Travel and Tourism
Industries, and the average amount of money spent per day
was €104.78 ($126).

More than half, or 53 per cent, visited New York city and
almost one in four, or 23 per cent, rented a car during
their stay in the US.

Commenting at the weekend, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Dermot Ahern said: "It's mind-boggling to see the level of
travel by Irish people but it's one of the clear
manifestations of an economy that is very, very healthy and
long may it last from our point of view."

The estimated figure of more than 500,000 for 2005 is based
on information supplied to the Department of Foreign
Affairs by the US embassy in Dublin.

The number of visitors is remarkable in view of the size of
Ireland's population at four million, although it should be
borne in mind that a substantial number of Irish passport-
holders are resident in Northern Ireland or overseas.

The level of mobility of the population is also reflected
in reports that the number of Irish visitors to Spain last
year was approximately one million. Irish visitors to the
Canary Islands alone are estimated at 440,000 in 2005,
which puts Ireland in fourth place in the world for
visitors to that area.

According to the official figures from the US Office of
Immigration Statistics supplied to The Irish Times, there
were almost as many non-immigrant visitors from Ireland in
2004 as from the entire African continent. The total number
of African visitors was 432,314 compared to 429,940 from

Ireland is far ahead of most of its EU partners in terms of
visits to the US. Figures for 2004 were as follows: Austria
152,850; Belgium 209,586; Denmark 187,613; Finland 102,366;
Greece 61,699; Poland 172,956; Portugal 99,368; Sweden

Mr Ahern said the statistics illustrated the reason the
Government was pressing ahead with the updating of Irish
passports to meet the latest US technical criteria "in
order to ensure that our people would not be prevented from
going in and out to America".

© The Irish Times


Rivals' Reunion: FitzGerald visits Haughey in Kinsealy

Liam Reid, Political Reporter

Former Fine Gael taoiseach Garret FitzGerald paid a visit
to his political rival, Charles Haughey, last October, it
has emerged.

Mr FitzGerald, who turns 80 later this month, visited Mr
Haughey following reports about the latter's illness.

Speaking on the Political Party programme on TV3 yesterday
evening, Mr FitzGerald said he instigated the visit, and he
travelled to Mr Haughey's home, Abbeville, in Kinsealy,
north Dublin.

He said he found his former rival "in better form than I
had thought from what I'd heard. We had a lot to reminisce
about outside politics. We didn't discuss politics very

The two men have known each other for 62 years, since they
were students at University College Dublin. They became
intense political rivals during the late 1970s and 80s when
Mr FitzGerald was leader of Fine Gael and Mr Haughey led
Fianna Fáil.

Mr FitzGerald referred to Mr Haughey's "flawed pedigree"
during a Dáil speech in 1979 when the latter was nominated
as taoiseach.

" I've know him for a long time, 62 years," Mr FitzGerald
said yesterday. "I was unhappy when he became taoiseach. I
felt he was a good minister but there were some
disabilities about him becoming taoiseach ... In his own
party he wasn't accepted by an important minority."

Mr FitzGerald also recalled that Mr Haughey asked him to
join Fianna Fáil in the early 1960s. "He also asked me to
analyse why Fianna Fáil hadn't done better in that election
and I agreed to do it for £100. He said: 'No, no I thought
you might like to help us.' I said: 'No, I'm a consultant
and if you want to employ me, you employ me and pay ...' I
heard no more about it."

© The Irish Times


Admiral And Nun Battle For Foxford Honour

Tom Shiel

An admiral and a nun, both long dead, are locked in an
unlikely battle for prominence in a Co Mayo town.

The dispute has arisen over whether the Foxford relief road
which has just opened should be named after Admiral William
Browne, founder of the Argentinian navy, or Mother Morrogh
Bernard, a Sister of Charity.

The former was born in Foxford in 1777 and founded the
Argentinian navy. The latter helped Foxford tackle poverty
by setting up a woollen mills in 1892.

Foxford Development Association wants the new road named
after the nun. However the local Admiral Browne Society,
which has ambitious plans to mark the 150th anniversary of
the admiral's death next year, is adamant that he deserves
the accolade. If Admiral Browne wins out, ancient cannon
will be specially imported from Argentina to decorate a
"boulevard of homage" to him.

The "Admiral Browne road" suggestion was reportedly
defeated by six votes to two at a recent meeting of the
development association. However JJ O'Hara, president of
the Admiral Browne Society, claims the result was void
because the minutes of the meeting "weren't properly

Mr O'Hara says Mother Morrogh Bernard and Admiral Browne
can both be honoured as there are two new roads.

There will be a ceremony today at Haulbowline, Co Cork, to
mark the departure of the Naval Service's LE Eithne to
South America.

This follows the Government's acceptance of an invitation
from Argentina to send a ship to join in celebrations
commemorating Admiral Brown.

© The Irish Times

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